By Keith Idec
There wasn’t a significant size difference between Sergey Lipinets and Mikey Garcia as they stood face-to-face Friday afternoon in San Antonio.
Moments earlier, both boxers made weight for their 12-round fight for Lipinets’ IBF junior welterweight title Saturday night at Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.
Lipinets officially weighed 139¾ pounds, just below the division’s limit of 140 pounds. The heavily favored Garcia got on the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulation’s scale at 139½ pounds.
Garcia, 30, will attempt to become a world champion in a fourth weight class against Lipinets. The Oxnard, California, native is listed as between a 15-1 and 20-1 favorite over the undefeated Lipinets, who’ll make his first defense of the IBF 140-pound championship.
Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs), a former featherweight and super featherweight champion, still owns the WBC lightweight title and could move back down to the 135-pound division after challenging Lipinets. In his last fight, Garcia convincingly defeated former four-division champion Adrien Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC) in a 12-round, 140-pound fight July 29 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Lipinets, 28, won the then-vacant IBF junior welterweight title by out-pointing tough Japanese contender Akihiro Kondo on November 4 at Barclays Center. The newly crowned champion went the distance for just the third time in his career in that bout, but Kondo (29-7-1, 16 KOs) has never been knocked out.
Showtime will air Garcia-Lipinets as the main event of a doubleheader scheduled to start at 10:15 p.m. ET.
Rances Barthelemy and Kyril Relikh, who’ll square off in the opening fight Saturday night, also made weight Friday for their 12-round, 140-pound rematch.
The Cuban-born Barthelemy, 31, officially weighed in at 139½ pounds for a bout that’ll be contested for the vacant WBA super lightweight title. Belarus’ Relikh, 28, stepped on the Texas commission’s scale at 140 pounds.
Relikh (21-2, 19 KOs) will attempt to avenge a 12-round, unanimous-decision loss to Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs, 1 NC) on May 20 in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Barthelemy came back from getting hurt by Relikh’s left hook in the fifth round, when referee Kenny Chevalier counted a knockdown against Barthelemy because the ropes helped hold him up. Relikh took a knee late in the eighth round once Barthelemy blasted him with a right to his midsection.
Las Vegas’ Barthelemy also hurt Relikh with back-to-back left hands to his body during the 11th round. Barthelemy won that WBA elimination match by bigger margins than the action suggested (117-109, 116-110, 115-111), which led the WBA to call for an immediate rematch.
Barthelemy and Relikh will fight for a title Terence Crawford gave up when he moved up to the welterweight division last year.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.